Weeknote: 30 March to 4 April 2020

Laptop screen in front of houseplants. Text on screen says "Minimum Viable Product"

What inspired me this week?

  • In last week’s note, I mentioned the weekend working with colleagues on a new service to help the NHS prepare and respond to coronavirus. Coronavirus status checker, or “Tell the NHS about your experience of coronavirus,” went live last Sunday evening for people who had completed 111 Online.
  • This week, it has been a privilege to see the team iterate the service, using analytics and rapid, remote user research to drive improvements.
  • Today the service was opened up to more users with a press release and social media links.
  • We’re not done yet. The service will continue to evolve in response to user needs and the changing situation.

What connections did I make?

  • Over Thursday and Friday, I led a series of conversations about how some of our services could deliver a joined-up experience. Several minimum viable products have been built, deliberately separately. This allowed us to get things into the world quickly, and be clear about the purpose of each service. But we know that on some journeys, users are having to repeat themselves, and that some data is not being linked when it could be.
  • In different circumstances, the obvious way to do this would have been a single workshop, with all the people in the room, using sticky notes and dot voting to identify and prioritise opportunities. Because that wasn’t possible, I split the work into a series of separate conversations, and used a couple of internal surveys to gather people’s views in between Microsoft Teams calls. I think this helped us to surface issues, hear diverse opinions, and get to a good consensus even though we couldn’t be together in person.

How did I uphold the NHS Constitution?

“All staff should have rewarding and worthwhile jobs, with the freedom and confidence to act in the interest of patients. To do this, they need to be trusted, actively listened to and provided with meaningful feedback.” – NHS Constitution for England

  • On one of the internal surveys, I asked how people were feeling about working on coronavius services. Lots of pride and commitment came through in the answers, but also a couple of concerns. There are already things underway to address those issues. I shared the feedback with senior colleagues so we can bear it in mind and support our colleagues.

What leadership teamwork did I see?

  • There’s a delicate line that our leaders have to tread, between being available for their hard-working teams, and burning themselves out by never switching off. Some of my colleagues, who have been working flat our for several weeks, did get to take a little well-deserved time off this week. For that to happen, others had to step up and share the load.

What feedback did I give?

  • A long-running piece of work at NHS Digital came to an end this week. I gave feedback to one of the people leading it, whose judgement I have come to trust absolutely.

How many times did I cycle to work?

  • 0/0, but one bike ride around the block.

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